#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: A hint of things to come for the media after the PER is removed

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A hint of things to come for the media after the PER is removed

How will the media operate and what news and information will it actually deliver after Saturday, when the Public Emergency Regulations are removed? The Media Industry Development Authority has confirmed censors will no longer be in the newsroom dictating what can and can't be run, but it's warning reporters they will still have to abide by the code of ethics and avoid what is says is 'preconcieved ideas.'

Media Authority will monitor media outlets
January 5, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: Fiji Sun

The Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) has welcomed the removal of the Public Emergency Regulations (PER), but at the same time, has cautioned journalists to exercise responsibility.

Authority deputy chairman Matai Akauola yesterday said with the removal of censors from newsrooms, MIDA will be the body monitoring news items in print, broadcast and television media.

Mr Akauola said journalists needed to let go of their pre-conceived notions when doing news articles. “We should be glad that censors are being removed but in saying that, we are not out of the woods yet. It is just that according to the goodwill of the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama  the PER has been removed.

“In removing the PER, the democratic process hasn’t kicked in yet. This is to allow for consultations in regards to having the new Constitution. The democratic process will only be up and running when we have general elections in 2014. From now until then, whilst the PM has announced the removal of PER, for the media, it is a matter of adhering to the code of ethics,” he said.

With the lifting of the PER scheduled to take place from this Saturday, the Authority’s work as the monitoring agency also starts at the same time.

“The censors will be taken out of the newsroom so that journalists can freely do their work. Even the Government would want a very responsible media while moving forward. Even at the media authority, we want people to do their work diligently and it is a matter of playing by the rules,."

The Authority came into existence when the Media Decree of 2010 was implemented. They will be the agency looking into complaints against media organisations, amongst other things.

“We will be working closely with the media organisations, talking and we think that is what is needed, the solutions are in the newsrooms.

“We had been meeting with media organisations and they have been asking as to when the PER would be lifted and now that it is being done, we call for responsibility."

Talks are also taking place to form a Fijian Media Association, to look at the welfare of media personnel and issues that affect them such as the safety of journalists.

Media freedom is one of the issues picked up by the Fiji Labour Party in its response to the plan to lift the PER. Under the heading,  "Cautious welcome to lifting of PER", the FLP says the judiciary is the other sector that needs to return to independence asap:

The Fiji Labour Party cautiously welcomes the decision to lift the PER later this week to allow for political consultations on the new constitution.

As an obnoxious and repressive set of measures, the Public Emergency Regulations should never have happened.

However, the Party believes that simply lifting the PER is not enough. To be fully effective, it should be accompanied by the following:

• the restoration of full media freedom

• restoration of the Judiciary’s independence and
the restrictions on its jurisprudence lifted

• Government accounts together with Auditor General’s
reports must be published

• There must be absolute accountability and transparency
in the affairs of the nation

• Ministerial salaries must be made public

• All abuses under the PER must be investigated and
those found guilty, punished

FLP statement re the PER


Anonymous said...

PER or NOT the code of ethics is the cornerstone of journalism. It goes with balanced and responsible reporting underpinned by well researched pieces. Sadly this has eluded the current crop of journos...more particularly the Fiji Sun whose reporters have lost all journalistic tenets with their blind loyalty to the regime.

Did anyone notice that there was not a mention of the PNG constitutional crises in the Fiji Sun. Leone, Lomas, Vula and the ever moving (once almost a doctor) Iliesa Tora..shame on you all.

Democrat said...

"It is just that according to the goodwill of the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama the PER has been removed". Was it also due to his goodwill it was brought in?

Anonymous said...

In every village, community in Fiji there are the empty drums.

Good for nothing individuals who always have something to say, invariabily negative in concept.

The silent majority, long sufferying, must indure these people whilst they take valuable time to slowly crash and burn.

The media love this type, for we have them even take the national stage.

Maybe after what we have been through, and now with the advent of the blog, these types will get hose down , and found dirty, will be less tolerated in society.

Village politics does not make a nation be.

Socrates said...

Matai Aka'oula has unfortunately lost his way. Sadly, he is no longer thinking like a journalist but more like a government information officer.
There is also a conflict of interest in that while he is part of the Fiji media, he is also a government-appointed monitor of the same media organisations of which he was and still is a part.
Admittedly, lifting of the PER is not full restoration of democracy but it provides some lee-way to journalists to begin doing their jobs diligently as "watch-dogs/gatekeepers". This means that they should now question issues of public interest which they know have since been "swept under the carpet".
Simply working with government towards democracy, as Aka'oula suggests, is to suggest the media abandon its watch-dog role and become mere propagandists.
It's interesting that the regime uses the words "responsible journalism" and "balanced reporting".
Can Aka'oula define "responsible journalism"? Responsible to whom - the government or the readers/listeners (meaning the public taxpayers)?
Can he also offer a solution to deliberate delaying tactics where the government refuses to answer investigative questions forwarded to it, thus delaying media reporting because of the need for "balance"? It will be interesting to see how the Media Authority (and Aka'oula) rules in such cases where media outlets go ahead and publish "unbalanced" stories after sufficient time has been given for "balancing" responses.
A properly constituted Media Authority is supposed to comprise representatives of government, the media industry (including journalists) and the public at large. In that sense, Aka'oula's appointment would be seen as being representative of the media industry. In this instance, he is failing badly in protecting the interests of the industry and his own working colleagues.
He has, undoubtedly, been caught between a rock and a hard place but it's a situation where he should let his conscience dictate. If he feels strongly that the media should support the government to a greater degree than its "watch-dog" role, then he should resign as executive head of the Pacific Islands News Association.
I am not suggesting that the media be anti-government. What I am suggesting is that it be given the freedom to report as it sees fit in the INTERESTS of the PEOPLE of Fiji.
The media needs to REPORT accurately and fairly so that the PEOPLE of Fiji can decide for THEMSELVES the TRUTH and the rights and the wrongs.
The media should never place itself in a position, as Aka'oula seems to be suggesting, where it merely becomes a mouthpiece for the government to tell the PEOPLE of Fiji what it WANTS them to believe.
That's what government information officers are paid to do and why international PR companies like the American one, which is making an easy million dollars from Fiji taxpayers, are appointed.


Anonymous said...

Yeah goodwill matai. Good one. Its more like under pressure and long overdue since it was supposed to be lifted after the media decree. PER was just a tool of suppression for the regime to escape the repercussion of their devious actions and get people to follow their instructions unsavory as some may be.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that Matai Akauola is Bai's left cherry by his comments and tactful support.

Anonymous said...

"It is according to the good will of Frank fenceforthegirls that PER has been lifted"
Who the fark is frank and why should we beg for our God given rights!! nobody asked for this senseless coup!!

mark manning said...

Man has Dominion over all the animals, but no control over himself :-

Law Review said...

Party is coming to an end for the journos who colluded with the regime or who turned a blind eye crying i must feed my family. it's what usually happens in war and there's winners and losers look no further tahn ww2 and the holocaust or the khmer rouge. let's see what lomas and co and made of now.

Anonymous said...

What is all this hype about responsible journalism. Who are journalists accountable to, are they accountable to the people? Were they elected to play such a role by the people? This is all bullshit. The journalists are accountable to no one else but the owners of the news company they work for as they are paid by them. These owners of media companies are also not here primarily to promote the interest of the people but to make profits for their own pockets.

Fourth Estate said...

To be expected. Matai is part of the reason for PINA splitting and some journalists calling for the organisation to leave Fiji.

Pilger said...

a@Socrates I suspect Fiji journalists have buried their professional badges under the rule of the current government, preferring to see themselves as victims ie Fiji locals who have to think first of their family and food on the table than defenders of the truth. Who, if any, will put their necks out after Saturday? It's unlikely any of them have been involved with the blogs and have as you have astutely pointed out adopted a role of serving the government. They need to pioneer a path post-PER or someone needs to show them the way because some, like Matai, have lost their way.

Anonymous said...

Goodwill my bum! Media freedom belongs to the people of Fiji. It should never have been restricted by Frank and his goons through the PER!

The way Frank has been praised is as if he has freed the people of Fiji from media bondage! His ass...! He was the one who removed this freedom and he is being praised now...? OMG!

Anonymous said...

Fiji SUN supporter says...

MMMMMMM,lifting PER....I want to see for Gods sake what typo reorting will these pro coup, idiot newspaper company will report.

Interesting read their articles and laugh at the hypocrites...reporters of Fiji Sun.......no back bone, sucking up to ASK & FB & NAZ.

Front Page said...

It's true to an extent that journalists account to their news executives and companies who are there to make profit. That's what happened when Murdoch sold the Fiji Times without an effort to fight the Fiji government after years in Fiji. It's also true that most journalists elsewhere in the region work to bring people accurate news and information.

JohnJones said...

@ Pilger

They lost their way thanks to the poor leadership of the ilk of Netani Rika and Russell Hunter (Fiji Times - anti Indian, pro-coup), and Thakur Ranjit Singh (Daily Post, pro-Indian and anti coup). Partisan reporting was in its heyday post 1999 leading up to and beyond 2000. And before any idiot starts prematurely attacking this point, please educate yourself on whether the 2000 coup was any better/lesser than that in 2006!

The same lot of reporters (note, I do not call them journalists for they lack analytical thought and commentative depth to be classed as such) and, some of who have fledgelingly have completed their degrees now are the senior reporters now. They've never had the right guidance all along.

In fiji, when you're a no-school dropout, you can always worm your way in a newsroom to become a press photographer. After that, it's only a matter of time you're a reporter! Hey presto!

Anonymous said...

Resign Mataimand we will know you're not siding with Vuaka and his useless pricks.

Democrat said...

I am starting my list of those who I will confront on a 'one by one' personal basis as lacking in any idea of democracy. Peter Lomas is one. He will be surprised when he finds out who I am.

Anonymous said...

If all the village idiots in the world formed a village - Matai would be the village idiot of that village. He was useless at FBCL and he still continues to be useless. I cant believe that people like him are in such positions of authority. people in the media industry - stop rewarding useless incompatent and ...did i say useless! people like Matai, Satish and so on and so forth.

Francis Herman

Anonymous said...

Matai is a SUCKER who loves goodwill of dictators (or dictator's arse).

Anonymous said...

Francis. U one big choro. Shut up bro. Whilst I don't like the khayium boys, he is doing a lot better job than u any day.

Anonymous said...

Personally no one likes the coup
and we're all pissed-off at Frank
and everyone else that helps him
succeed? But the Fiji Media deserved what they got in the Media
Decree and i wished Frank & Khaiyum
keeps the Media Decree a wee bit longer?Prior to the Media Decree the Medias were by & large used by
outside forces to control political
and economic powers in Fiji? Almost
every Fijian Government has, at one time or another, tried unsuccessfully, to put a lid on these irresponsible reportings.At least Frank has done something good
for the good of our future generation? Thanks Frank & Khaiyum!

Anonymous said...

Lifting of the PER is just label only, those 'THOU SHALL NOT would remain'. We are all grown-ups and could easily make out this next episode of the bainivore's conspiracy drama.

Lifting PER is just to please the international community and hoodwinked them that Fiji is making headway back to democracy. But far from it.

The watchdog onus is delegated by directives to Akoula and his fellow Reporters. Smart move........ but it takes only a small spill then all these directives would go to rooftops. I will be least surprised if Reporters would start seeing themselves in the Thugs' custody with time of post-PER.

matai coca cola said...

just keep your mouth shut matai you are a sell out.

Socrates said...

@Anon4.27pm: the definition of responsible journalism is more often than not, seen as being the boundaries set by Journalism Codes of Ethics. Journalists may not have been elected as such but the sales of their stories and the number of listeners/viewers of broadcast/television programs give them some degree of legitimacy. While journalists are acountable to their employers, they are also, through public endorsement of their products, accountable also to members of the public! My advice to you is to educate yourself a bit more to think logically and analytically rather than slinging off from your limited vision which is a result of not looking beyond your nose!

@Pilger: I wouldn't discount the fact that some journalists are the very bloggers you refer to. If not, then they may well be the source of many of the "revelations" which appear on sites such as these.

@FrontPage: Let's be fair to Murdoch. The only reason he sold the newspaper was because of the Media Decree and in case you've forgotten .. the regime has protected itself from judicial reviews. The recent Decree which terminated the pensioner's court case against the FNPF is an example.

@JohnJones: While I cannot agree to your differentiation between reporters and journalists I will agree with you that, unfortunately, most of the practising journalists today have not had the benefit of professional guidance. The result is that, like the Fiji Civil Service, we have in positions of seniority some people in the media who have not had the relevant experience to qualify them for such positions. As for your comments about "school drop-outs" .. I think you might find Mrs Sainiana Radrodro's case a very interesting one .. school drop-out to journalist, to PR person for FTIB, to PR person for Ministry of Works and now Acting Director of Roads!!! She's probably earning more than those "schoolies" who have spent years listening to boring "sermons" at university. Not bad for a school drop-out if I may say so!!!!

Anonymous said...

The blog owner is biased. It only likes anti regime statements.
The regime has done an excellent job.
The losers only are complaning but have no show.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! I am counting and bet, the PER will be back in 2 weeks time, via an unsavory "broth" which Vore will 'cook-up'soon.
Vore is predictable, unstable, short fused and a weekling hiding under the BIG skirt of the military. Guys, look around, Vore is ever extending the skirt for him to move and hide under. it is every where, in govenment and non govt bodies.Vore wouldnt lift the PER if there is no skirt to act as a double cover, media decree for eg. Long live Democracy!!

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 10.14. You tell us then a media outlet that can print, air or televise opposing views to the regime's. That is exactly the reason blog sites have sprung up. The regime controls the media.."you print what we want to hear or you do not print at all"!!

It is called dictatorship. If you are educated you will understand. If not then there is little that one can do for you because you simply just follow. You must be a soldier!!

Johnny-Come-Lately said...

Ha ha ha!...biggest joke is the Fiji Labour Party pontificating about media freedom, absolute accountability and transparency(ha ha ha!)and making ministerial salaries public.

This is rich coming from party led by Mahen 'Chor'dhry.

Do you think we have forgotten your tax evasion and stealing $2million meant for the poor?

Does Labour party think we are stupid?

Chaudhry as PM and as illegal finance minister was totally anti-media.

Why doesn't 'Chor'dhry practice transparency and accountability by fully disclosing how much donations he collected on behalf of poor and how it was spent?

Chaudhry is, to use a Hindi term, 'bina pendi ka lotta' - this means a consummate opportunist with no loyalties or morals.

This man ardently supported the coup (perhaps even plotted with FB), repressed media freedom, evaded taxes while hunting down others tax evasion (hypocrite) and tried to use his authority as illegal finance minister to hide his financial misdeeds.

Now he and his Labour Party are pretending to be paragons of democracy, transparency and accountability.

How pathetic and low down is that? This man's immorality knows no bounds.

Socrates said...

As The Oracle has said elsewhere on this site... We appear to have been taken for a ride. Bainimarama's latest statement (available from the Ministry of Information) on amendments to the Public Order Act (Public Order Decree 2012) seems to have incorporated much of what was in the Public Emergency Regulations.
So, it's a continuation of the same but under a different name. The question is: Who get's to interprete what constitutes a threat to national security? If the Fiji media questions the wrong-doings of the Bainimarama government, will they be accused of threatening national security? If the media questions the system of payment to i-Taukei landowners or shorTcomings in the sugar industry will they be accused of inciting racial hatred? And who will determine this - the courts or the Media Authority? Mr Aka'oula needs to be clear on where the Media Authority stands in all of this. Otherwise, it will be simply by-passed as it has been in the case where Khaiyum has filed contempt of court proceedings against the Fiji Times. Doesn't Khaiyum have faith in the Media Authority to adjudicate on such matters? Has he already forgotten that the Media Authority is an organisation he was responsible for establishing?
I wonder if, by saying all this on this Blog site, I am now liable to be charged under the new Public Order Decree 2012 for inciting racial hatred towards Khaiyum or for inciting ill-will towards the unelected and self-appointed government?

Francis Herman Fan said...

It's funny to read Francis Herman criticizing Matai. Mr Herman was hardly an example of competency and efficiency during his career.

He has been a journalist all his life but I wouldn't describe as a role model for young journalists.

Francis made no great strides as a reporter - he was what one would describe as a 'soft reporter'. Just listen to some of his gutless interviews with Rabuka and others.

Our young reporters are far more gutsy and Francis can learn a thing or two from them.

FBCL hardly made any progress while Francis was CEO. It wallowed in the same morass during his leadership.

Francis should just shut up or he will expose his own bullshit.